Almost 4 year old only child not interested in friends, should I be concerned? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 57 Old 08-14-2012, 10:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I know this is common for toddlers, but I thought this changed around 3-4.  DD really doesn't have an interest in friends.  She begs me not to have friends over for playdates because she doesn't want to share her things, and when we have them she spends the whole time anxious someone is going to touch something she doesn't want them to etc.  She likes going to playdates at other people's houses, but only so she can play with their toys.  We go to playgrounds all the time, and she has zero interest in playing with the other kids.  We have had lots of discussions about this and she always says, "I like playing with other kids, but I like playing with you and daddy more."  Today, after having a friend over for a playdate, she told me, "My friends aren't my friends, you and daddy are my friends".  

 

I am a SAHM and we were planning on homeschooling, but this makes me nervous.  I know about the homeschool socialization myth, but how does that apply to a child that doesn't want to socialize (btw, she loves talking with adults and flocks to them over me.  She is also pretty advanced, and most of her "friends" are younger than she is anyways).  I wouldn't call her an introvert, though she is shy with strangers and in group situations.  Is this just a stage she will grow out of, or her personality?  Should I try to make friends with moms with slightly older kids (I am a bit of an introvert, so that isn't necessarily easy)?  

 

I guess my main question is, do you think I should push the playdates if she doesn't care about them.  I was number four in a family of five kids and my husband also grew up in a family of five, so we aren't really sure about how this parenting an only child thing works.  If she had siblings I don't think I would be as concerned, but since she doesn't it seems like I need to get her out and playing with kids.  At the same time it seems wrong to push her when she has said many times that she isn't interested.  Anyone BTDT, or can relate?  

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#2 of 57 Old 08-15-2012, 05:05 AM
 
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I feel so different about this and find most don't agree with me- but, NO way would I be doing what you are doing.

 

I don't feel playdates are helpful at this age- you are the one picking her friends, you are picking children younger than her and who you want- if this was you would you like someone to do that to you?

 

Why rush things here? She is 4, life is not measured by the number you have and at 4 is happens to be just fine to have NO friends! It won't effect her life in any way- 4 is young, she is meeting and socializing at public places with others, that enough right now, that's just fine!

 

Let her alone, if she likes adults- that's OK too!

 

As she ages she will change, she will go to events (If you HS like most do you will meet others) and let her pick who she likes and when she feels she wants them over, then it is the time.

Some people NEVER like others touching their things- and that is OK too.

 

As she ages, she can see people and children she likes at non home events where she is not placed in a position to have her things touched- look at it this way, do you cook or do crafts? would you like someone touching your things? Seeing others at a park is fine and enough and when she ages she will change and let it happen at it's pace, not yours.

 

I know sooooooo many seem to fixated on the "playdate" and I don't get the need for it at all. It forces pressure on a child and forces them to not be who they are- let her pick as she ages and feels the need for this interaction.


 

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#3 of 57 Old 08-15-2012, 06:29 AM
 
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I know this is common for toddlers, but I thought this changed around 3-4.  DD really doesn't have an interest in friends.  She begs me not to have friends over for playdates because she doesn't want to share her things, and when we have them she spends the whole time anxious someone is going to touch something she doesn't want them to etc.  She likes going to playdates at other people's houses, but only so she can play with their toys.  We go to playgrounds all the time, and she has zero interest in playing with the other kids.  We have had lots of discussions about this and she always says, "I like playing with other kids, but I like playing with you and daddy more."  Today, after having a friend over for a playdate, she told me, "My friends aren't my friends, you and daddy are my friends".  

 

I am a SAHM and we were planning on homeschooling, but this makes me nervous.  I know about the homeschool socialization myth, but how does that apply to a child that doesn't want to socialize (btw, she loves talking with adults and flocks to them over me.  She is also pretty advanced, and most of her "friends" are younger than she is anyways).  I wouldn't call her an introvert, though she is shy with strangers and in group situations.  Is this just a stage she will grow out of, or her personality?  Should I try to make friends with moms with slightly older kids (I am a bit of an introvert, so that isn't necessarily easy)?  

 

 

 

It could be that she is mature for her age and just doesn't find her peers interesting playmates. I read a thread on this somewhere here but I can't remember which board. Homeschooling can work well for this if you have a homeschooling group with older children.

 

Another possibility, which is the case for my ds, is that he has social skills deficits (social reciprocity and pragmatics) seemingly related to ADHD/Aspergers. Ds tends to get along better with younger children and older children than peers. He also has a tendency to focus on toys rather the people when he goes to neighbors' houses (we never did playdates though). Ds does like to play with other children but he also values his alone time.

 

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I guess my main question is, do you think I should push the playdates if she doesn't care about them.  I was number four in a family of five kids and my husband also grew up in a family of five, so we aren't really sure about how this parenting an only child thing works.  If she had siblings I don't think I would be as concerned, but since she doesn't it seems like I need to get her out and playing with kids.  At the same time it seems wrong to push her when she has said many times that she isn't interested.  Anyone BTDT, or can relate?

 

I don't see how she would benefit from playdates as you currently do them. It may work better to find situations where she could naturally gravitate towards the children she does prefer, such as a homeschool group with a good age range, a mixed age range schooling situation, or community groups that don't strictly age segregate (like children's theater/chorus)--though some of this may not be possible until she is a little older.


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#4 of 57 Old 08-15-2012, 06:46 AM
 
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The big difference between playing with parents/adults and playing with kids is that adults have very little vested interest in the play. If the kid wants the blue car what do I care I'll take the red car. The kid wants to be mommy and I'm the baby, ok. The kid wants to build a zoo out of blocks let's do it!

But when there is another kid that kid has much stronger feelings about play. They may really want the blue car too. They might want to the mommy or not even want to play family. They want to build a house not a zoo. Etc etc etc.

When your dd plays with you she is probably in charge of what you play, how you play, and when to change the game because frankly adults don't really care that much. You aren't going to burst into tears and fall on the ground because you wanted a turn with the blue car, ya know.

Relationships with other kids require very different skills. I have seen this phenomenon with many, many kids (as a parent, teacher, and friend of people with kids).

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#5 of 57 Old 08-15-2012, 06:51 AM
 
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I also think it is, hmm I don't know what words I want to use, ? low expectations? to assume that a kid isn't 'interested' in a same age or younger peer because they are 'mature.' my ds goes to a mixed aged school ages 2-6 are all together and it is expected that all the kids play together. Kids need to learn how to modulate there play and interactions depending on their playmate but older kids are not permitted to exclude younger kids. I find in fact the more 'mature' the kid the easier for them to play with kids of all ages.

It is something the kids have to practice and learn to do but I think the value in being capable of interacting positively with people of all ages is really important.
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#6 of 57 Old 08-15-2012, 09:02 AM
 
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to assume that a kid isn't 'interested' in a same age or younger peer because they are 'mature.' my d.s. goes to a mixed aged school ages 2-6 are all together and it is expected that all the kids play together. Kids need to learn how to modulate there play and interactions depending on their playmate but older kids are not permitted to exclude younger kids

I have such issues with force like this- we don't do this in the real world with adults, we do not force adults to play with others they do not get along with but yet we want children to do this-why?

It is not the same as working with a mixed age groups, that is where school and HS groups come into play- at a much older age. We are asking children to form friendships and play with others and not allowing them to form them on their own at their own pace and with their own comfort level, instead we set up adult expectations often based on adult formed groups with the main interest of those adults. Just because you like the parent doesn't mean your child will love the other child- that goes for cousins too, yet so many don't get this.

Children can learn how to be kind, nice and polite to other children without being placed into forced play setting.

 

I know for the two I have, one liked mixed age groups the other hated it!

 

 

anytime you force a situation that clearly is causing stress is not good IMO if she enjoys being a setting (outside of a organized playdate) and other children are around that is fine, I'm sure she will find what makes her comfortable - you did not state that you do much with older children, maybe she would thrive more in older settings

 

my DS can't stand being around children who do not talk much- one of the reasons he turns to much older children or adults- he likes vocal interaction, he is vocal when he plays and will not play with a child that does not communicate and reciprocate with him

 

 

 

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If she had siblings I don't think I would be as concerned, but since she doesn't it seems like I need to get her out and playing with kids

 

also not all children enjoy having siblings, some don't right from the start and never out grow it, many only children grow up very happy to not be around lots of others 


 

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#7 of 57 Old 08-15-2012, 09:35 AM
 
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at that age dd went to dc  and had a couple of good friends. 

 

but at home she didnt want to really play with other kids. it was the mature issue. luckily i had a couple of friends - kids at heart who would give her the run for the money. just coz she was a kid they wouldnt make it easy for her. 

 

in school also dd didnt really make friends - she 'played' with kids only coz she had to - not coz she wanted to.

 

we changed schools adn finally she met some like minded kids and boom. she was willing to have playdates adn sleepovers.

 

now at almost 10 she would rather hang out with kids than adults. though even today she can sit amongst adults and hold her own. 


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#8 of 57 Old 08-15-2012, 05:08 PM
 
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I think your expectations are a bit off for a 4 year old. She may or may not come around to like playing with friends. I'm an only child and although I went to school most of my interaction beyond that was only with adults. I didn't do day camp over the summer or anything. I enjoyed reading, playing by myself, art, etc. And I am very extroverted. That said, my ds is very introverted and it was a struggle for me to identify that and adjust to his preferences.

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#9 of 57 Old 08-15-2012, 05:47 PM
 
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I was just reading about this in Playful Parenting.  There was a study cited with kids of this age that they would chose to play with their parents over kids their age.  I have an almost 4 year old as well and sometimes he needs to play where he can be in charge.  That's how they work out issues/fears/assimilate new learining, through play. Why do kids want to do that with other kids, they don't know how to deal with conflict yet.  I wouldn't worry.  

 

And just a note from personal experiance, I can't think of one really good behavour ds has picked up from playing with other kids his age or younger.  He learned to spit, play violently and tease from other kids his age.  I'd rather he play with us for a little while longer :)

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#10 of 57 Old 08-15-2012, 10:48 PM
 
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Mine is only 3 and a half, but he doesn't play with other kids either. I do "playdates" anyway, not for him, but because I like hanging out with my friends who are parents. I don't make a big deal out of whether he plays with the other kids or not in those situations, but I figure he's at least exposed to them that way - and can decide to play if and when he wants to.

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#11 of 57 Old 08-22-2012, 09:52 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Wow, thanks for all the great replies, sorry I am so late chiming in here, we were on vacation.  Everything said makes a lot of sense.  tbone_kneegrabber, I was also a teacher and I guess that is where my perspective on this age group comes from.  In most of my 3-4 year old classrooms, the kids enjoyed playing together and seemed eager to see one another.  We just spent a week with cousins of similar ages and DD was so overwhelmed with having to share space/toys by the end of the week.  I really think after observing her more that it is a mixture of age/personality.  Which is fine by me, and I too would prefer to stay away from the play dates.  

 

Faithsstuff, that is an interesting point, I do think she likes to be in charge, but generally DH and I tell her that if we are going to play with her than we want a say in what is happening too, and she is always fine with that.  I have seen her play really well with older kids too, 6-8 year olds, and she doesn't mind them being in charge, so I don't think that is really the cause.

 

Reading all of your comments is actually such a relief to me.  We have moved around a lot in the past 4 years, and it seems like all my "friends" are only my friends because we are all moms.  These are great women, but we really don't have anything in common outside of being moms.  I would love to seek out some friends with similar interests to my own, but I felt like I needed to keep these relationships going for DD.  I guess I am just trying to control things too much, which I have a habit of doing.  We go to parks and other public events all the time, and she will attend groups/classes or school when she is older so I'm sure she will make friends when she is ready/needs to.  

 

Thanks for all the great advice, it gives me a lot to think about.

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#12 of 57 Old 08-23-2012, 06:03 AM
 
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I don't feel playdates are helpful at this age- you are the one picking her friends, you are picking children younger than her and who you want- if this was you would you like someone to do that to you?

 

Why rush things here? She is 4, life is not measured by the number you have and at 4 is happens to be just fine to have NO friends! It won't effect her life in any way- 4 is young, she is meeting and socializing at public places with others, that enough right now, that's just fine!

 

Let her alone, if she likes adults- that's OK too!

 

As she ages, she can see people and children she likes at non home events where she is not placed in a position to have her things touched- look at it this way, do you cook or do crafts? would you like someone touching your things? Seeing others at a park is fine and enough and when she ages she will change and let it happen at it's pace, not yours.

 

I would comment on the fact that yes playdates are very helpful to social growth at age 4. It is a great time of social change for kiddos. They go from parallel play to interactive play. Sometimes that transition is very rocky. But the dynamic is different for interactions with younger/older/adults/same age peers. There are different social cues, interactions, and expectations for each group and that is very complicated for the 4-6 yr old to navigate. It can be overwhelming and confusing-- depending on personality, different kids handle it differently (avoidance of kids, enjoyment, wary caution, enjoy  one on one but not large groups, etc). Also a young 4 will be more along the transition than a 4-turning 5 yr old.

 

Are you Homeschooling or going to public school? If you are going to public school- there is a whole set of social skills kiddos will need to develop as soon as school starts. It can be overwhelming to some kids. But at 4- there is one year before K starts. If you are HS, you may want to participate in HS groups that would require interaction with mixed age or same age peers. It will not be all parent-child led that preschool activities tend to be.

 

Yes, if she likes adults that is OK. But is is just you and your DH or other adults too? At 4, kiddos need to be exploring social skills that broaden their standard exposure. Their world gets bigger and some of that is learning how to interact with other people (of all ages).

 

Most kids have to interact with a lot of kids before they really find out what kind of personality works for them and their play style. It is a bit of trial and error to be honest as they learn, they cant learn what people they want to play with if there is no exposure.

 

 

But I agree with Serenbat, that keep the same-age peer interactions away from home. To young children- someone else touching their 'stuff' is much more threatening than playing in a community place or 'neutral' location. Try a playground, play room, preschool activities, etc. Keep it short and simple.

 

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It could be that she is mature for her age and just doesn't find her peers interesting playmates. I read a thread on this somewhere here but I can't remember which board. Homeschooling can work well for this if you have a homeschooling group with older children.

 

Another possibility, which is the case for my ds, is that he has social skills deficits (social reciprocity and pragmatics) seemingly related to ADHD/Aspergers. Ds tends to get along better with younger children and older children than peers. He also has a tendency to focus on toys rather the people when he goes to neighbors' houses (we never did playdates though). Ds does like to play with other children but he also values his alone time.

 

 

I agree. One of my DDs has social skills deficits. It reflected in her non-willingness to play with same age peers (except her twin). She actively went to adults or older/younger kids (babies). Kids her age were overwhelming and unpredictable which for her personality made her nervous. She was too busy they would do XYZ to enjoy playing with them, she had trouble navigating the social cues that her peers displayed. Through social skill play, play acting, and lots of little bits of exposure she now enjoys her peers at age 6- though when under duress does retreat to playing with familiar adults. She also likes to play alone a lot more than other kids her age.  That is OK, but experience has given her some skills to make it a less unpredictable and stressful time. She has a few select friends she enjoys, but it took time and trial/error to find out who  she found playing with more enjoyable.

 

 

 

 

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The big difference between playing with parents/adults and playing with kids is that adults have very little vested interest in the play. If the kid wants the blue car what do I care I'll take the red car. The kid wants to be mommy and I'm the baby, ok. The kid wants to build a zoo out of blocks let's do it!
But when there is another kid that kid has much stronger feelings about play. They may really want the blue car too. They might want to the mommy or not even want to play family. They want to build a house not a zoo. Etc etc etc.
When your dd plays with you she is probably in charge of what you play, how you play, and when to change the game because frankly adults don't really care that much. You aren't going to burst into tears and fall on the ground because you wanted a turn with the blue car, ya know.
Relationships with other kids require very different skills. I have seen this phenomenon with many, many kids (as a parent, teacher, and friend of people with kids).

 This really can have a big impact. A child playing with an adult knows that although an adult may have preferences, they will be polite, not grab, and respect the childs emotions/property. Other kids may or may not do those things.

 

Playing with adults (espec. familiar ones!) is comforting and predictable. Non-threatening.

 

 

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I have such issues with force like this- we don't do this in the real world with adults, we do not force adults to play with others they do not get along with but yet we want children to do this-why?

It is not the same as working with a mixed age groups, that is where school and HS groups come into play- at a much older age. We are asking children to form friendships and play with others and not allowing them to form them on their own at their own pace and with their own comfort level, instead we set up adult expectations often based on adult formed groups with the main interest of those adults. Just because you like the parent doesn't mean your child will love the other child- that goes for cousins too, yet so many don't get this.

Children can learn how to be kind, nice and polite to other children without being placed into forced play setting.

 

anytime you force a situation that clearly is causing stress is not good IMO if she enjoys being a setting (outside of a organized playdate) and other children are around that is fine, I'm sure she will find what makes her comfortable - you did not state that you do much with older children, maybe she would thrive more in older settings

 

my DS can't stand being around children who do not talk much- one of the reasons he turns to much older children or adults- he likes vocal interaction, he is vocal when he plays and will not play with a child that does not communicate and reciprocate with him

 

 

 

also not all children enjoy having siblings, some don't right from the start and never out grow it, many only children grow up very happy to not be around lots of others 

 

How will kids learn to be polite to other kids if they do not interact with them?

 

I would not 'force' a playdate that obviously is very stressful. But I would say that kids and adults learn through new situations-- low levels of stress are OK. They expand comfort zones and expose kids to new experiences. Some kids are more open to 'change' and others actively resist it.

 

I agree to make her comfortable- but also to scaffold on what she is OK with. If she is OK at a playground. Start there. Kids on the playground should be able to positively interact with other kids at 4 (esp. late 4), not always with great finesse, but they should be trying out fledgling social skills (how to ask to play, playing/talking to other kids, etc)

 

Yes, kids will be in situations (much like adults sometimes) that they have to interact with kids they do/dont like. In a public school setting, a HS activity, a preschool class, swim/dance/gymnastics class, etc there is likely to be kids that clash personality wise with other kids. Kids need to learn the tools and skills to get along for that time period so they can learn/participate.etc. 

 

And yes, some kids are introverts and simply enjoy their own company. But they need to learn to get along in groups and it should be done in small developmentally appropriate ways.

 

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I was just reading about this in Playful Parenting.  There was a study cited with kids of this age that they would chose to play with their parents over kids their age.  I have an almost 4 year old as well and sometimes he needs to play where he can be in charge.  That's how they work out issues/fears/assimilate new learining, through play. Why do kids want to do that with other kids, they don't know how to deal with conflict yet.  I wouldn't worry.  

 

And just a note from personal experiance, I can't think of one really good behavour ds has picked up from playing with other kids his age or younger.  He learned to spit, play violently and tease from other kids his age.  I'd rather he play with us for a little while longer :)

Yes, I agree that learning to deal with conflict at 3-7/8 is a fairly complicated and individual process.  But they also learn from observation of peers actions, they see peers learning alongside them and that is much different than learning from an adult. Not better or worse- just different. 

 

 

My kids have learned a lot of good behaviors from other kids. They have observed friends being very caring toward little siblings (my DDs do not have any younger siblings) and that is wonderful for them to observe. They also have seen their peer express empathy and comfort to one another.  They have seen peers sharing  toys, food, and art supplies..Again, a child observing a child doing these things is very powerful.

 

Simple explanation that a toddler is young and cant talk/move/wait etc very well yet often suffices for explanation for unwanted behaviors that are witnessed. That is is something DDs learned at that age is good- they can see the social growth they have made and it is is a learning experience.

 

 

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Originally Posted by mckittre View Post

Mine is only 3 and a half, but he doesn't play with other kids either. I do "playdates" anyway, not for him, but because I like hanging out with my friends who are parents. I don't make a big deal out of whether he plays with the other kids or not in those situations, but I figure he's at least exposed to them that way - and can decide to play if and when he wants to.

 

That is a good idea. At 3.5 some kids wont play with others from a developmental viewpoint. But they observe and can participate as they want with the opportunity to do so is there.

 

 

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Originally Posted by mtbmomma View Post

  In most of my 3-4 year old classrooms, the kids enjoyed playing together and seemed eager to see one another.  We just spent a week with cousins of similar ages and DD was so overwhelmed with having to share space/toys by the end of the week.  I really think after observing her more that it is a mixture of age/personality.  Which is fine by me, and I too would prefer to stay away from the play dates.  

 

 

 

As an adult, a week with lots of relatives is overwhelming! 

 

 I taught preschool and most of the kids liked to interact, but always a few were observers and liked to play alone. BUT but age 4.5 most of them had some rudimentary social skills in place to play with other children. In a preschool setting, it was a safe structured neutral environment that allowed kids to explore interactions and skills slowly. They have learned to wait in line, wait a turn, take turns speaking, share their experiences, and work with peers to complete a task (build a tower, puzzle, collage, etc).  Basic life skills that come with practice  either in a preschool setting, a HS group setting, or community events. 

 

She may do best one on one for her personality and also in a short bits and a non-personal space. 

 

A child used to just themselves and other adults in the house may find a bunch of people all at once a bit of sensory overload!

 

 Have fun this Fall/Winter!  4 is a fun age ( one of my favorites to teach!)-, I hope you and your DD  have a great year!

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#13 of 57 Old 08-23-2012, 11:16 AM
 
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I would comment on the fact that yes playdates are very helpful to social growth at age 4. It is a great time of social change for kiddos. They go from parallel play to interactive play. Sometimes that transition is very rocky. But the dynamic is different for interactions with younger/older/adults/same age peers. There are different social cues, interactions, and expectations for each group and that is very complicated for the 4-6 yr old to navigate. It can be overwhelming and confusing-- depending on personality, different kids handle it differently (avoidance of kids, enjoyment, wary caution, enjoy  one on one but not large groups, etc). Also a young 4 will be more along the transition than a 4-turning 5 yr old.

 

Are you Homeschooling or going to public school? If you are going to public school- there is a whole set of social skills kiddos will need to develop as soon as school starts. It can be overwhelming to some kids. But at 4- there is one year before K starts. If you are HS, you may want to participate in HS groups that would require interaction with mixed age or same age peers. It will not be all parent-child led that preschool activities tend to be.

 

Yes, if she likes adults that is OK. But is is just you and your DH or other adults too? At 4, kiddos need to be exploring social skills that broaden their standard exposure. Their world gets bigger and some of that is learning how to interact with other people (of all ages).

 

Most kids have to interact with a lot of kids before they really find out what kind of personality works for them and their play style. It is a bit of trial and error to be honest as they learn, they cant learn what people they want to play with if there is no exposure.

 

 

 

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How will kids learn to be polite to other kids if they do not interact with them?

 

 

sorry but you missed the entire point of my post!

 

all can be achieved without an organized "playdate" same way children use to do sports (we called it sand lot-parents stayed out of it-period) and learn to interact with others- without the over interaction organization planned out orchestrated stress-filled parent generated event they have become

 

nowhere did I even say nor imply that there is to be no exposure


 

 

I find it so odd that children use be able to develop (become social and polite) and become wonderful adults without "playdates" at age 4.

 

There was a time you waited until the child initiated the desire (not the parent) to have another child come over (to their space!) to play and that typically did not occure at age 4.

 

 

ETA- does not come across like the OP is in any sheltering her child or keeping her away from others and not depriving her of interaction - seems IMO like the post is about the need at the age given the reaction


 

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#14 of 57 Old 08-23-2012, 12:28 PM
 
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Originally Posted by serenbat View Post

 

 

 

 

sorry but you missed the entire point of my post!

 

all can be achieved without an organized "playdate" same way children use to do sports (we called it sand lot-parents stayed out it-period) and learn to interact with others- without the over interaction organization planned out orchestrated stress-filled parent generated event they have become

 

nowhere did I even say nor imply that there is to be no exposure


 

 

I find it so odd that children use be able to develop (become social and polite) and become wonderful adults without playdates at age 4.

 

There was a time you waited until the child initiated the desire (not the parent) to have another child come over (to their space!) to play and that typically did not occure at age 4.

I guess I interpret 'playdate' differently.

 

In the culture I grew up in they have existed in some format for years and years. And I highly doubt they were all child initiated. Most were families/neighbors/friends assisting with childcare, developing adult friendships, family events,  shared economic reasons (farming), preschool, church nursery, etc.  

 

At age 2/3/4 : we often meet up with other young families and their same age kids to talk (some were coworkers, some childhood friends of DH and I, neighbors,etc).We had the kids in the backyard or living room and grown-ups chatted, encouraged good manners, and kept an eye out but let the kids play- only getting involved if needed. Sometimes playing by themselves and sometimes playing with each other.

 

And historically-- most children of all cultures and time periods have 'playdates' (wanted or not by the child) before age 4. Families were bigger, buildings often housed multiple families-- from a anthropological viewpoint, very few (I am sure there are some but none I know of) cultures did the vast majority of families have children with child-only led contact with other children (siblings have to cope with sharing toys/belongings, sharing parental time, and an infraction of personal boundries  all the time). They have to learn comfort levels/ and develop skills to interact with other children on a regular basis. 

 

Many moms/grandmothers I know also babysit, nanny, or share childcare (which is also common in many cultures) where most children are 4 and under. The child does not really get a say in who they share space with in these situations. It is just a way of life- and like any other situation the children adjust accordingly and learn the social norms for each group they are placed in.  Some kiddos will enjoy the experience more than others, but all of them will gain skills from positive meaningful interactions with other children around the same age on a regular basis. Repeated exposure to the same child/children over and over again is much different than a casual random encounter.

 

Playdates: even at ages 2/3 were loosely structured. I never once in my life have 'organized' a playdate beyond  "Hey want to meet at the park/my house on X day?" Some were initiated by my kids when they were old enough, but still at age 6 some are organized by me and some by the kids. At age 2,3,4  : it really helped them also to build a world view on other kids, other families (that may or may not look/function like ours) and I initiated most of not all of the playdates at younger ages. We found families/kids that interacted well with our family and some that did not (through no fault of their own- just personality clashes or philosophy differences).

 

 I think the interpretation of the word 'playdate' itself  is where we must differ. 

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#15 of 57 Old 08-23-2012, 12:41 PM
 
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Did not have time to read all...will do it later.  Serenbat, learning how to play well with others at any age (over the age of 3) is beneficial and translates later to working well with others as an adult.

 

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#16 of 57 Old 08-23-2012, 01:11 PM
 
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Serenbat, learning how to play well with others at any age (over the age of 3) is beneficial and translates later to working well with others as an adult.

 

wow- snarky!

 

guess you did not read what I or others have wrote- even the reply from the OP

 

 

 

Quote:

I guess I interpret 'playdate' differently.

 

In the culture I grew up in they have existed in some format for years and years. And I highly doubt they were all child initiated. Most were families/neighbors/friends assisting with childcare, developing adult friendships, family events,  shared economic reasons (farming), preschool, church nursery, etc.  

 

At age 2/3/4 : we often meet up with other young families and their same age kids to talk (some were coworkers, some childhood friends of DH and I, neighbors,etc). I would never occur to me to say to my friend " No you cant come over , my DD does not like to play with other kids at our house." nor would I ask her not to bring her son.  Yes, I would explain or put away toys that caused conflicts- and yes, my close friends understood some of my DDs quirks related to her special needs. But we had the kids in the backyard or living room and grown-ups chatted, encouraged good manners, and kept an eye out but let the kids play- only getting involved if needed.

 

And historically-- most children of all cultures and time periods have 'playdates' (wanted or not by the child) before age 4. Families were bigger, buildings often housed multiple families-- from a anthropological viewpoint, very few (I am sure there are some but none I know of) cultures did the vast majority of families have children with child-only led contact with other children (siblings have to cope with sharing toys/belongings, sharing parental time, and an infraction of personal boundries  all the time). They have to learn comfort levels/ and develop skills to interact with other children on a regular basis. 

 

Many moms/grandmothers I know also babysit, nanny, or share childcare (which is also common in many cultures) where most children are 4 and under. The child does not really get a say in who they share space with in these situations. It is just a way of life- and like any other situation the children adjust accordingly and learn the social norms for each group they are placed in.  Some kiddos will enjoy the experience more than others, but all of them will gain skills from positive meaningful interactions with other children around the same age on a regular basis. Repeated exposure to the same child/children over and over again is much different than a casual random encounter.

 

Playdates: even at ages 2/3 were loosely structured. I never once in my life have 'organized' a playdate beyond  "Hey want to meet at the park/my house on X day?" Some were initiated by my kids when they were old enough, but still at age 6 some are organized by me and some by the kids. At age 2,3,4  : it really helped them also to build a world view on other kids, other families (that may or may not look/function like ours) and I initiated most of not all of the playdates at younger ages. We found families/kids that interacted well with our family and some that did not (through no fault of their own- just personality clashes or philosophy differences).

again, no place did I say shelter this child like you are implying I have - did you read the other post not only from me but the OP and others? dizzy.gif

 

 

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Which is fine by me, and I too would prefer to stay away from the play dates.  

 


 

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#17 of 57 Old 08-23-2012, 04:07 PM
 
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Serenbat, I did not intend to be snarky.  I was in a hurry.  Sorry.  Now that I have read all the posts, it doesn't change how I felt when I read your posts, which quite frankly sounded like a rant against playdates because they are forced.  And all of your bolding makes me feel like you are raising your voice.

 

After reading kcmichigan's post, I realized that we have different ideas of playdates.  I have never seen or heard of my friends forcing kids to play together.  We just get together to talk and the kids can play or not.

 

Once again I have to go...baby crying.
 

ETA:  I also learned quickly that playdates at my house were not fun for dd or me. So we go to parks or other peoples' houses.  I would never have dreamed to force my kid to share and let others play with her stuff when she's clearly not developmentally ready for it.  Now that she's almost five she's much better with other kids coming to our house.


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#18 of 57 Old 08-23-2012, 05:04 PM
 
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Kids that age are still very young and so she might come around. I would relax about it, but I think you could try more unstructured play, like just taking her to the park to play when the park is busy, with no expectations about what happens, and see if she warms up a bit to other kids. She could just be an introvert, I I don't personally believe that is learned. I think it's an innate thing for some people. But even if she's an introvert, she might warm up a bit to playing if the expectations are lowered and there's no pressure. Going to the park is nice because you can sit and watch her go down the slide or whatever and just let things happen naturally. Don't feel like you have to "set her up" wtih other kids there or try to get her to play with kids or anything. I'd back off and let her get things going on her own.

Anyway, it sounds like you have a few differing opinions, so I'll throw mine in the mix and hopefully something between all of us you'll get some ideas.
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#19 of 57 Old 08-23-2012, 05:36 PM
 
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I felt when I read your posts, which quite frankly sounded like a rant against playdates because they are forced.  And all of your bolding makes me feel like you are raising your voice.

 

 

you took what I wrote out of context

 

force (and bolding does not mean yelling either) never seems to turn out well when applied to a child in most cases and most circumstances- at 4 or 3 or even 5 most children are not picking the play situation, the parent is and most children live (at least at that age) to please the parent and they look to the parent and go along with it- many later in life do express just how much they despised the forcing of playing with some they did not like but could not say no to the parent at the time- many have lasting impressions of it

 

 

 

 

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 Serenbat, learning how to play well with others at any age (over the age of 3) is beneficial and translates later to working well with others as an adult.

 

another myth also go to those who feel that somehow children are not being prepared if they do not play together in a contrived atmosphere - no where does it come across that this child is not interacting with other (even those her own age) or that I somehow do not understand this- I would thank you to not put words in my mouth as you are implying it towards me

 

 

 

 

the OP's child in an only child and as others pointed out and it seems the OP also realizes that her child does not do well in playdates as they have been- it's really good that the OP can see that it does cause stress in her child and she seems to doing what is correct for her child

 

somehow this myth that a child must live up to an adult expectation (at this young age) is just flat out not true- there are many children that do daycare, next preschool and even public school and grow up to not want or desire to be social with their peers- this goes to the whole myth of socialization- really I have found it has nothing to do with how much or what kind is viewed as best (yet so many preschools are making money selling the myth) it really comes down to personality- some hate it as a child and no matter what you do, they grow up to not want to be social 

 

there are many way to have contact and avoid stress on children who clearly (like in the case of the OP's) are not happy with playdate situations- and it really is OK to want to be with adults now and chances are she will turn out just fine not having spent hours playing with her peers-if she has a parent (and this certainly seems the case with the OP) she will know what is best for her child and it seems like now is not the time to push this on her-IMO

 

 

 

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DD really doesn't have an interest in friends.  She begs me not to have friends over for playdates because she doesn't want to share her things, and when we have them she spends the whole time anxious someone is going to touch something she doesn't want them to etc. 

 

with only children (this is not the case for all but for many) the mere thought that as a small child you want others in your personal space interacting with your personal things is just something that unless you have experienced it...... you do not know how this child really feels!

it is vastly different from playing at a daycare/preschool knowing those toys are for all to share and they do not come home with you-many children can do that with no issue but place them in the setting of an at home playdate and it is nothing but stress on that child

 

there is also the element that a playdate does not allow the child to be like they would in an open setting (playground, group, daycare, park, etc) where they can pick to play with who they want or to not play at all with others

 

 

 

seems like the OP is doing the right thing by her DD..... if the child is overall happy playing at this time not with her peers- why push that on her? I see no benefit but far more stress in the end- she is four, she has lots of time to make friends and you can learn lots of way to be polite and how society wants you to interact by watching adults-the parents are the first start- some where there is a myth that parents can't teach their children and it is best left to professionals toowhistling.gif

 


 

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#20 of 57 Old 08-23-2012, 05:42 PM
 
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She could just be an introvert, I I don't personally believe that is learned. I think it's an innate thing for some people. But even if she's an introvert, she might warm up a bit to playing if the expectations are lowered and there's no pressure. 

Personality -IMO is the whole thing! no amount a socializing for some will ever work-others it doesn't make a bit of difference

 

 

 

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expectations are lowered and there's no pressure. 

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that is how I understand it


 

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#21 of 57 Old 08-23-2012, 07:05 PM - Thread Starter
 
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This has turned into quite the debate:)  Anyways, we are undecided about which schooling option we will go with.  Both DH and I would like to homeschool, but also think that financially we would be better off if we both have careers.  I know it is possible to do both, but I'm not sure whether I'm up for that.  Ideally we will either homeschool or she will go to a charter school, or maybe Montessori (though I know we would be late to start).  

 

About the playdates, most of the ones we do are just a group of 2-5 moms, each with one or two kiddos in the infant to 4 year old age group.  We meet at parks, playgrounds and each other's houses.  I think it is definitely easier at the park or playground, however DD still rarely cares about playing with other kids and just wants to play with me or by herself there.  I feel bad going to other people's houses if I don't host as well, since they usually provide food etc.  I may just stick with the park/playground meet ups for the time being.  I am not really worried about DD, just curious whether this is an age thing or personality, and if I should be trying to encourage her to be more social.  

 

I was extremely shy around people I didn't know as a child, and wasn't very comfortable in group settings.  DD seems to be very similar, I just worry more since she is an only child and I had lots of siblings.  If we decide to homeschool I will pursue coops or homeschool groups.  DH is just finishing up his masters, so we anticipate moving soon and I'm not sure where that will be so it is hard to plan ahead.  

 

I am looking forward to four, I love watching kids open up at this stage and really blossom into individuals.  Thanks for all the great advice.

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#22 of 57 Old 08-23-2012, 08:15 PM
 
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Ok Serenbat, you win.  I am too tired to debate you.

 

My only point was that playdates (and by playdates I mean the no pressure kind, not where they are worried about their stuff) can be beneficial in helping children learn to navigate interpersonal relationships.  Usually right around 4  to 5 years old they start actually wanting to play with kids their age. Of course, not everyone because you have to factor in if they are shy or introverted.  Anyway the op's dd is not even 4 yet so developmentally not really at the friend making stage.

 

I don't think it is absolutely necessary at this point for the OP to get together with other moms just for her daughter.  All my play dates benefit both me and my daughter. It sounds like it's not beneficial at this time for the OP and her daughter.  But for me, my daughter loved getting together with other moms and kids from about 3 years and up.  Serenbat, your opinions are valuable, but it sounds like you view play dates only as contrived, forced,stressful events.  The reason I am too tired to debate you is because you don't leave any room for another opinion.  I don't see where you are coming from because I know no one in real life who forces stressful play dates on their kids. As a parent, who would want to do that? Sheese that makes more work for the mom trying to discipline them.  And I know no one in real life who has grown up and been negatively impacted by playing with kids because their moms set it up.  I don't even remember who I played with at age 3, 4, and 5.  Regarding the issue of play dates and it being the parent choosing friends:  I see play dates as giving her an opportunity to make friends.  Can you accept another perspective?

 

I guess I had a little energy left for debate...lol

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#23 of 57 Old 08-23-2012, 08:28 PM
 
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OP, just saw your last post.  You were wondering if you should encourage her to be more social.  I think your doing great just giving her opportunities to be social if she wants to.  Going to parks or gathering where she could begin to play with other kids if the opportunity is there, she may surprise you one day.

 

My daughter used to pinch the daylights out of kids who just sat too close next to her.  I dealt with it for 1 1/2 years.  I hardly took her to any play areas or playdates.  I was so sad and I thought she was going to be this horrible nasty mean child that no one would like.  I have past threads that I started about it.  Then right around 3 she came out of it and now she is great.  She didn't really start making friends at a park until about 4 1/2, and she is very extroverted.

 

I think your right on not to worry about her.  Her age and her personality are the key factors here.  Once she matures a little she might start playing with other kids.  She'll probably meet some kid that will just click with her and away she'll go.  I remember when that happened for the first time with mine and it was fun to watch.
 


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#24 of 57 Old 08-24-2012, 05:10 AM
 
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About the playdates, most of the ones we do are just a group of 2-5 moms, each with one or two kiddos in the infant to 4 year old age group.  We meet at parks, playgrounds and each other's houses.  I think it is definitely easier at the park or playground, however DD still rarely cares about playing with other kids and just wants to play with me or by herself there.  I feel bad going to other people's houses if I don't host as well, since they usually provide food etc.  I may just stick with the park/playground meet ups for the time being.  I am not really worried about DD, just curious whether this is an age thing or personality, and if I should be trying to encourage her to be more social.  

 

given your post-It seems like there can be a number of reasons your DD is not wanting this-the sheer number at your home (when you did have them over) would make some very social outgoing children not happy and the age just may not be a fit- you can certainly reciprocate food at another venue 

 

your idea of what is social and what she enjoys may always be two different things

 

you seem in-tune but still leaning towards your expectations - can you break from the circle of these friends and only do one on one with a child more in line age and personality of your?  

 

she may end up more shy or in the end she may just be not in the right situation - either way, your have lots of time


 

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#25 of 57 Old 08-24-2012, 06:13 AM
 
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I'm not going to touch the debate, I'll just say that I don't see anything wrong with playdates provided they are low-pressure & fun (even if their version of 'fun' is different than ours and even if it doesn't involve actually playing with each other!) I have seen huge benefits to DS and his friends from having lots of playdates and we have a very active social life, despite the fact that my 3.5yo DS is a lot like your DD.

I would try doing consistent, regular playdates (every Thursday afternoon, for example) and keep it to only one other kid (or one other family). I would not be afraid to rotate houses, it's a learning process to share your own space, but if you'd prefer to stick to parks/playgrounds or the other person's house, I don't see anything wrong with that. Why not just offer to bring snack or lunch, so the 'burden' is shared more equally? (Also, we still do big group playdates because I want to stay in touch with my friends and it does help to see the other kids more often anyway. The one-on-one playdates are in addition to, not instead of, the group ones.)

Anyway, with DS and a few of his more anxious/shy/less social friends, doing very routine playdates has made a world of difference. It's such a difference to have time with just ONE other family, and to very consistently meet with them. The first few weeks they didn't just ignore each other but actively railed against each other (out of fear). Once they started getting used to the routine and to each other, they really relaxed and let their guards down and now they have such a great time & look forward to their weekly playdate. Also can help if you make the focus something besides just playing -- so maybe it's a lunch date (bonus if the kids can actually prepare the lunch themselves or set the table together), or a craft date, or maybe even a movie date -- something that will serve as a distraction from any pressure to 'play' which is such a vague term...

DS needs a looong time to warm up, especially if we are with more than 1 family (the bigger the group, the longer it takes him to feel comfortable). He often spends an entire group playdate sitting on my lap or eating. The more we do it regularly, the shorter the time he needs to warm up, but it still takes him so long that often he's just starting to play when all the other kids are leaving. I found that lingering for an extra hour or more with another mom or two who doesn't have a rushed schedule has allowed him to play way more than he would if it were just a standard 2 hour playdate.

Playing at the park with random kids does. not. happen. for DS. He is just way too anxious for that. He needs the predictability of knowing what to expect from the other kids so while I do still take him to just hang out at the playground, I know that he will play only with me while we're there (and usually want to leave if lots of other kids do show up).

DS has a best friend now. They play together so well, in a way I wasn't sure would ever be possible for him. And he has other friends who he plays well with too. It's pretty amazing to see the transformation, which may be part due to timing/development but mostly I think due to our consistency with getting together with the same people week after week.

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#26 of 57 Old 08-24-2012, 06:55 AM
 
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 I am not really worried about DD, just curious whether this is an age thing or personality, and if I should be trying to encourage her to be more social.  

 

i would NOT encourage her to be social now. first she needs to feel safe in numbers. dont worry. you wont hurt her for good. give her the time to feel safe and confident. and then she will in her own time venture out. 

 

dd's best friend was this way. he finally joined soccer and became much more sociable in first grade. until then he only played with those he knew well. never in a park with lots of other kids. 

 

you can try once in a while, but back off if you find she is not ready yet. like crunchy's son, some kids do better with a couple of good friends. 


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#27 of 57 Old 08-24-2012, 07:14 AM
 
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Originally Posted by faithsstuff View Post

 

And just a note from personal experiance, I can't think of one really good behavour ds has picked up from playing with other kids his age or younger.  He learned to spit, play violently and tease from other kids his age.  I'd rather he play with us for a little while longer :)

 

I agree with this soooooo much! 

 

The idea that I need to expose my child to behavior that I find undesirable in some bizarre attempt to prepare her for coping with bad behaviors in adulthood is bizarre to me. As an adult, if I invited someone over and they were being rude, careless with my things, yelling at me, etc. I would ask them to leave not accept their behavior. If someone pushed, shoved, or hit me at work, I would file a complaint with human resources and the offender would be fired or otherwise reprimanded. I don't know where everyone else works but I've never in my twenty-something years of working ever been encouraged to put up with the kind of behaviors that children are taught to "deal" with in playgroups. 

I'm not saying that all children and/or playdates are like this. What I am saying is ... if your child is stressed out about the treatment of her things and having these playdates is upsetting or even in any way unpleasant or just not desirable for your child, what on earth is the point of subjecting her to that? There's no point to it now and has no advantage for her later. There is nothing about cooperation or teamwork that cannot be learned later on in childhood or from adults that makes the misery of putting your kid through this worth it. All it's going to teach her is that you will use your position of power as a parent to force her into things that have no clear point or desired outcome. 

 

I have an only child who is five now. She by far prefers adults to children. She isn't necessarily anti-playdate like the OP's child but she doesn't seek out long lasting friendships with other children either.

When I ask her why she replies that adults are nicer and have interesting things to say, but by far her most popular answer is they are CALM. It seems to me she enjoys interactions that are mutually respectful and mature and she has expressed that she doesn't feel that way often when having unstructured play with other kids her age.

 

OP- I think as long as your child is happy and learning and healthy, there is NO reason at all to force something she isn't interested in. Also, at only four years old, she might change her mind in a few months or years or however long and totally surprise you and that's completely ok. I homeschool my dd and I don't consider this a problem or issue at all. If you have other good reasons for school that's fine but please don't feel you have to send her just for "socializing". 


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#28 of 57 Old 08-24-2012, 10:17 AM
 
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Originally Posted by faithsstuff View Post

 

And just a note from personal experiance, I can't think of one really good behavour ds has picked up from playing with other kids his age or younger.  He learned to spit, play violently and tease from other kids his age.  I'd rather he play with us for a little while longer :)

 

I agree with this soooooo much! 

 

children really look at their authority figures (mainly the adults in their life) to seek expectable molding behaviors so I completely understand this too!

both mine have often questioned why the other parents do not say anything to their children when they do things like you have mentioned (speaking to them for spitting, etc)

 

 

 

Quote:
When I ask her why she replies that adults are nicer and have interesting things to say, but by far her most popular answer is they are CALM. It seems to me she enjoys interactions that are mutually respectful and mature and she has expressed that she doesn't feel that way often when having unstructured play with other kids her age.

my two are the same (and like interaction, when someone does not acknowledge them they are turned off-this behavior has been since birth)  and any time I have said roughly the same thing to others they just don't get it- your age group often in life is not who you desire for company- we tend to get this as adults but not for children

 

and some children do not feel comfortable around infants that cry (those who are not use to it) can be unset by this


 

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#29 of 57 Old 08-24-2012, 10:40 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Crunchy_Mommy, I like the idea of a more routine play date with just one other family, however making that happen has been tricky in the past.  Maybe once summer travel calms down we can make something happen.  

 

I guess I didn't mention that I do enjoy the adult interaction as well, however I think I need to branch out and make some friends with shared interests, instead of just moms.  We have moved around a lot in the past few years and will be moving again soon, so I haven't really had time to find my niche.  I don't really fit in with this group of moms, and DD doesn't seem to fit in well with the kiddos either, but I guess whenever DH finds a job that will all change anyways.

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#30 of 57 Old 08-24-2012, 10:56 AM
 
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so I haven't really had time to find my niche. 

 

 

a lot of people find what they need when they are not looking

 

if you do things on your own- for you ( a class- program even at a Y where she can stay in a provided child area even for just an hour-what ever) you might find those who do have more in common just with you

 

often the friends of our children are not our friends or even those we would want to be friends with and vise versa 


 

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